Blue Mountains Council has expressed concerns that performances at the theatre will be affected by the new Woolworths in Springwood.
At the July 28 council meeting councillors voted to make a submission objecting to the supermarket development in Springwood in relation to its potential impact on the Blue Mountains Theatre, its patrons, performers and the performing arts community.
Labor councillors Don McGregor and Mick Fell brought the motion to council. It was supported by all the councillors, with the exception of Liberal Crs Brendan Christie and Chris Van der Kley who elected not to vote due to conflicts of interest. Cr Van der Kley is a member of the regional planning panel which is expected to decide the supermarket's future and Cr Christie is an employee of Woolworths.
Council made the submission about Woolworths at the end of last month so it could be considered with the proposal's development application. The development proposal will be determined by a regional planning panel, not council.
In their submission council raised concerns "about the proximity of the proposed loading dock and mechanical plant to the shared boundary between the two sites, which means there is a risk that noise from the supermarket site may impact on the theatre experience".
Located on the vacant, former IGA site on the corner of Raymond and David Roads (which IGA closed in 2016) the proposal features a Woolworths supermarket with a BWS, one specialty retailer and more than 200 car parking spaces on the rooftop and basement. If allowed it will be similar in size to Coles, Winmalee. It is a partnership with local landowners, the Wayne family, who also own the neighbouring Oriental Hotel. If approved this year, it's expected development would take between 15 and 18 months. The supermarket would operate from 6am to midnight, seven days a week.
Cr Don McGregor read out a statement by acclaimed Sydney Morning Herald critic and Blue Mountains resident John Shand citing the quality of the current acoustics.
"The Blue Mountains Theatre is the finest concert venue in Greater Sydney, period. It boasts superior and more flexible acoustics to any room at the Sydney Opera House, the Parramatta Riverside, the Seymour Theatre or anywhere else. The theatre is a treasure, not just for the Blue Mountains community, but for music lovers across the metropolis."
Cr McGregor said the extraordinary acoustics would be affected by the noise of reversing the vehicles, and from the hum of plant equipment" adding it was "particularly galling it was happening during the COVID pandemic when supermarkets have been the big winners, while theatres and performers have been the big losers."
Cr Mick Fell said he had chosen to give up his voting position on the joint planning panel to express his concerns publicly.
"I don't think I would want to be in the Hub when they excavate 3,700 square metres to a depth of seven metres for the underground car parking ... I don't want to see them do it at all. The constant truck movements from the Ori Hotel will have a devastating effect for the people who go there to listen to performances. It's an attempt to over-develop the site, building right to every edge, a three storey concrete wall."
Woolworths has put their case on a website: https://www.springwood-supermarket.com.au/
- An earlier version of this story said council was opposed to the development, based on incorrect council minutes from the urgency motion which were distributed online.